Commentary

Ryland Whittington and Gender Identity

This viral story is really baffling me, and I feel like I’m practically the only one thinking this.  I’ve been trawling through the articles and the comments and it seems like everyone loves it or hates it.

I’ve never studied gender, and I was really lucky to just be generally content with my lot in life. Certainly I’m no expert on gender, which is maybe why I’m confused, but I assume that most people reading and commenting aren’t either.

I guess, in my head, “sex” is the physical incarnation of your gender. It is whether you are a boy or a girl genetically. Gender is something that has been created culturally. Most people are cool with this, and it’s an easy way to tell what people are working with down there.

Physically, men and women are different, and this has caused them to be treated in hugely varying ways throughout history. Gender equality is a pretty new thing, with gender neutrality being pushed as well.

As I said, I’m lucky. I like a lot of stuff about being a girl, and I like that most men are different from me. My husband isn’t different from me 100%, we have a lot in common. We are equals, and I can’t really think of anything that he would refuse to do on the basis of being a man, besides appearance based stuff. He won’t get a pedicure or wear makeup. He identifies as a man, and I identify as a woman. He loves to shop, and has no problem doing laundry or dishes. I enjoy our differences though.

However, I know that it isn’t always this easy for people. Some people really strongly identify with traits that are widely associated with the opposite gender. This is a problem with our society though, and not with the person. So my question, I guess, is what does it really mean to be a man or a woman?

It shouldn’t matter what you’re interested in or what you want to wear.  How can something that is societally fabricated have such an impact on a young child? Is there more to gender than I am giving it credit for? Essentially–are men and women that different?

Men and women have always been treated differently, but the differences were not always the same as what they are today. Would Ryland have wanted to be a boy if he grew up in a time when this was a thing:

a dandy

 

For real.

I’m not condemning Ryland’s parents, not yet.  However, I have often contemplated to what extent it is appropriate to gender your children. I’m not blaming them, however, the answer is, probably, less than the Whittingtons.

I get it. We always find it easier to put people into categories. People want to relate to each other, and gender makes that easier. I’m lucky, and I’ve never felt personally conflicted about this. However, I believe that this may in part be to a less-gendered upbringing. My mother isn’t a tom-boy and she isn’t a girly girl. She doesn’t wear makeup, and she doesn’t like cars. My dad isn’t hyper-masculine, either, and claims to know everything about style (not even close).

When I was five years old, I hung out a lot with my older brother and a whole  gaggle of boys. I had a couple of girlfriends, but this was never an issue. My “best friend” when I was four was kind of a B. and always made me play Prince Charming so that she could be the princess. I didn’t even know to be offended about this, until my mom got upset, and that was moreso about the girl being so domineering. My boy bff* was buying Barbies before I was and told me he wanted to be a girl so he could pee sitting down. I was like, “it is great, I’m lazy too so I can see why you feel that way.”

I wasn’t raised gender neutral. I played with baby dolls and eventually Barbies, but often with my brother, and these were plot-driven games. Those poor babies were always getting shipwrecked, btw. My mother would never have done something so lurid as to paint my room pink (I did this myself when I was 14).

People should like what they like, and gender shouldn’t even come into it. I respect how troubling it is for kids to be told that they have to like certain things because of their gender. I remember when I found out that pink was a girl-color and blue was a boy-color, and subsequently always wanted the pink towel.

Yes, children are aware of their sex from an early age. They identify as either boys or girls, but what I want to know is, what does it mean? What does it mean to be a girl? I guess,  also, just a tiny piece of me,  as someone who takes a lot of pride in myself and identifies as a woman, just doesn’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to be a woman. Not to say that I think men should want to be women, but it’s just that we can all do the same stuff, aside from the peeing standing up/sitting down issue.

I’ve had major pee envy in the past, particularly in the case of events where men get to pee into a trough and women have to use porta-potties. Yes, biologically men have it easier when it comes to peeing in less convenient locations**. However, when it comes to a nice lazy pee, girls have it made. We can go into a stall, and people don’t automatically assume we’re doing a #2. So there are pros and cons, but basically we all have to pee at some point.

I don’t envy Ryland’s parents and I can’t imagine the fear I would feel in their position, in knowing that my child isn’t happy with himself.  However,  I do worry that this is influenced by external pressures.

I don’t have any kids yet, but I’m going to have to think long and hard about  what I expose them to, and how I can make them happy in who they are.

*He is now a well-adjusted gay man.

**Except my friend Jaima who has mastered a standing pee

 

 

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Commentary

I hope “Nice Guys” always finish last.

The problem with “Nice Guys” is the same as the problem with “Girl who Travels.” It’s that discrepancy between something that is real and genuine, and something that requires quotation marks, and the reason that these titles are denoted with Air Quotes is that they are self-professed, aspirational, and utterly meaningless. I know it’s difficult to stomach, but you cannot define yourself.

So, it was a huge error for Leo Steven to even try and speak for all “Nice Guys,” and subsequently proffer that label unto himself. And then there was all of the other bullshit that he said.

Not to brag, but my husband is a really really nice guy. This past weekend, he parted the sea of people on the sidewalk so that a lady with a stroller could get past. A few weeks ago he gave an old lady he met at the chiropractor a ride to the bus stop, after she told him how long it had taken her to get there. He felt guilty for not driving her all the way home. And he definitely doesn’t do this shit to get some from them or to impress me, because it makes him embarrassed when I even mention it.

So my husband is legitimately nice, but he has never had problems with the ladies because he is a well adjusted guy and he’s good looking. He treats everyone with respect and kindness, without any ulterior motive.

Guys that haven’t had much luck with girls see the title, “Dear Girls Who Are (Finally) Ready TO Date Nice Guys: We Don’t Want You Anymore,” and feel empowered, vindicated even. However, they neglect to understand that just because girls don’t like them, that doesn’t make them nice (no quotes).

I think that it goes without saying that girls should go out with nice guys: guys who treat them well and respect women. Some girls aren’t at a level of maturity for that yet, and still want to play games. Relationships work best one both parties are of a similar maturity. A girl who hasn’t yet graduated from the Elementary School playground rituals of ” if he’s mean to you that means he likes you” would get bored with a grown-ass man who is straightforward, knows what he wants, and isn’t embarrassed to admit that he likes a girl.

It’s easy to get hung up on a person who you can never quite have, it’s an ego thing. And I think that that is what is happening with the girl in the article, and to the writer of the article as well. Who doesn’t have that revenge fantasy where that person who rejected you finally wants you back, and now you get to reject them? As a fleeting thought, it’s fine, but any more time wasted on it than that is just time wasted. Whether you are actively pursuing this person who did you wrong, because you’re confusing insecurity for love, or if you’re writing articles about how she wants you and now she can’t have you, you need to evaluate the source of your sense of self.

The best revenge is living well, but this only works if you are living well all over everyone’s faces. Nevertheless, if you want to show up all of the chicks that were mean to you, the best revenge would be loudly not giving a fuck… not writing a about how much you’re over her/them (you’re clearly not).

I’ve had a major problem with “Nice Guys” for a long time now, even before I started dating, actually. Having dated a lot of actually nice guys, I can confirm that my natural instincts were correct. Being “Nice” is not enough. Being “Nice” is the bare minimum of even getting a date, at least that’s my rule.

If a guy asks me out on a date (or did, since I’m married now), I would probably be like, “sure, why not, he seems like a nice guy.” There are guidelines for this though. He must be:
– Remotely attractive
– Truly seem like a nice guy
– Seem like someone who I wouldn’t mind going on a date with.

I don’t have to be ready to kiss him, sleep with him, marry him, have his babies, die within a week of his death, etc. That’s what the date, and all subsequent dates are for, to determine if you want to do those things.

You probably shouldn’t accept a date with someone who you wouldn’t even enjoy eating a meal around. Other than that though, a date is just a way for you to both get to know each other better and see if there is potential there. This might seem obvious, but judging by the comments on the aforementioned article, it’s not. A date does not need to be a prelude to sex.

Sometimes you go on a date and the more you get to know the other person, the more you like him or her. Sometimes it’s the opposite. Regardless, you should always be on your best behaviour on a date. Just as a guy being nice is the bare minimum, girls must be nice too. When on a date, the other party is your captive audience, and you are responsible for being a pleasant companion. You need to be yourself, but, as always with someone you don’t know that well, the best version of yourself.  All this means is that you need to be ready to socialize, you need to be polite, and you need to at least pretend like you want this person to like you.

True Story: I once went out with a redhead. This might not mean a lot to you, but it does to me. It wouldn’t be my usual color palette. This guy really wanted to go out with me, and had told my coworkers. I was sort of on the spot, and I didn’t feel comfortable rejecting him publicly. When I accepted, he was already coming off over eager, texting me profusely. Still, it was just a date, and I figured that I might as well give him a chance. At the very least, he would see that I wasn’t that great and not pine for me, as he might have if I hadn’t ever gone out with him. I did my best on the date to make it enjoyable for him, while at the same time presenting myself as not great girlfriend material, citing a history of boozing and I also told him that I was a virgin, which was the truth. We couldn’t have been more different. He drove a monster truck, and I, well, didn’t. I thought I had prevented any chance of a second date, but I was wrong. We went out at least once more, and he was genuinely a nice guy. He never even expected a kiss, and seemed surprised when I hugged him. I had never expected it to go anywhere, and in the end it didn’t. But he was starting to grow on me, and the red hair became less pervasive. In the end, however, he was too needy and our backgrounds too different.

My point being, there is no harm in going out on a date with someone. It’s a chance to get to know someone better, and people can surprise you. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to have a foundation of similar interests/background or be crazy attracted to each other, because those things are hard to change. The dude who wrote that article is pathetic, but the chick really should have been a better date. She should have been pleasant at the very least, but that wouldn’t change her lack of interest in him. Further, if the only interest that you can incite in women is via your nice car or good job, you are really still at square one. You’ve learned nothing. Something else is lacking here, and my guess is that it’s not bitchiness.

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Commentary, Politics, Uncategorized

How do we prioritize good deeds?

and not just good deeds, but ethics?

It seems like everyone has a cause, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot: not all causes are created equal.

Some people put a lot of money, blood, sweat, and tears, into a cause that amounts to a lot of nothing. And it isn’t just the thought that counts. Having good intentions is a good place to start, but it’s not enough. People want to feel good about themselves for doing good, and don’t necessarily wonder how running a half marathon actually affects Cancer. The idea that they’re doing a good thing and that other people see them doing a good thing, and their genuine desire to help is enough.

I’m skeptical of everything, I guess its just how I was raised. My parents gave to charity, but there was sometimes a discussion about where the money really went, and an acknowledgement that some charities are better than others. It’s very important to me that if I do give to charity or champion a cause that I can be sure it’s really doing something and that it isn’t just an empty gesture to make me feel good about myself. At least if you give money to a homeless person, you can be sure that he is getting the money, and not some CEO.

I tend to err on the side of not giving, which I guess is pretty shitty. I can’t stand the way that breast cancer has been commercialized into a trend, and I’m still not sure if the way that we aid foreign countries is really helping them.

I’ve written a little bit about this before, but I have been thinking about slavery and human trafficking recently. Last month, on Facebook, I was invited to the page “END IT: Shine a Light on Slavery,” an event taking place on February 27. As far as I could tell, participation consisted of drawing red X’s on your hands. On the website it states, “This February 27th, join us and other Freedom Fighters from around the world as we SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. Draw a RED X on your hand. Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT. Just use your influence any way you can to help us carry the message of FREEDOM so even more people know. Let’s make this SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY even brighter than ever.” Unfortunately, that’s the end of it. They don’t actually tell you what steps you can take to end slavery. They just tell you how to spread the word that we should be ending slavery, to get more people to seemingly spread the word. It’s a good message, and a good way to spread it, but without any plan on how to actually do anything about it, once people are aware of it.

You see, most people don’t outwardly support slavery. Slavery is bad, and we supposedly have known this for like 150 years. Most of us thought that it was done with. Well, it’s not. Although the End It campaign fell short, it did get me thinking about slavery, which was a good thing. I thought about what I personally can do to stop it, that is buying products made by slaves. It seemed like a long shot, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was something that I had to do. It’s something that anyone can do, really. It isn’t going to be easy to end slavery, when it’s something that already isn’t accepted. It isn’t out in the open. But we can stop supporting it. We can stop buying cheap products made through exploitation. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s something that a lot of people will need to do for it to make a difference. I never thought about the fact that most of the clothing that I purchase is made in sweatshops. Nice, fashionable clothing, is manufactured in dangerous conditions, by underpaid workers, at best. Sometimes the workers are trafficked in. Sometimes they are abused. Sometimes they are children. I feel disgusted with myself for ever contributing to another person’s misery in such a way.

I’ve been looking online to try and find good places to buy ethically made clothing. What I’ve found really interesting is that a lot of these websites bulk ethics together. Some of what they sell is fairtrade, sweatshop free, etc. Some of it is eco-friendly. Some of it is vegan. But a lot of it is not all of the above. Here is something about the hierarchy of ethics that baffles me–you can buy an animal-friendly Vegan handbag that is made in a sweatshop in China. Someone is actually feeling good about themselves for not killing a cow, essentially at the cost of another human being’s human rights. Where does that fall on the scale of ethical?

Here’s the thing: when it comes to picking causes, I’m always going to choose humans. Animals are helpless, and they do need champions, but so do people being forced to work 15 hours a day. It would be great if we could eliminate all cruelty, certainly. I guess what I’m saying though is that if it came to choosing one or the other, I’m picking humans.

It’s been a few weeks since I decided to be a more conscientious shopper, and I haven’t bought a single item of clothing. I’ve made a wish list on pinterest, and when I really need a new items of clothes, I’ve found some great ethical manufacturers. At this point I have enough to keep me clothed.  I feel good about buying clothing with real value, stuff that’s well made, by people who aren’t being exploited. I won’t be able to buy as much clothing as I have in the past, but I think that the stuff I do buy will be better made and last longer. That’s the practical side of it. I also don’t have to feel bad about myself.

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Commentary

Slut shaming is the new gay bashing.

Lately I’ve been trying to get a handle on what’s really bugging me. I’m trying to pinpoint it, so bear with me.

Slut shaming is the new gay bashing.

 

There are two sides to this. First off, slut shaming and gay bashing are both real problems. And, secondly, slut shaming seems to be everyone’s new pet cause. Now that Gays are widely celebrated, the radical left has moved on.

I think that I’m a pretty modern, if pragmatic, woman. While I think that women should be able to sleep around as much as they’d like, that only works in theory. Maybe our culture isn’t ready for it yet. In practical terms, it may never work. Humans are innately selfish beings, we want attention, and we want to feel important. Sleeping around usually doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. It requires mutual respect, and self-respect, and it’s hard to achieve that in a one night stand. It really doesn’t work, and even if it should work, I’m not going to tell you to do it, because it doesn’t work.

Still, it’s pointless to make a girl who sleeps around feel bad about herself, and it’s ridiculously counter productive when guys do this. I’ve seen the worst of it, trust me. I really don’t care what someone does, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, there’s no reason to spew hatred and vitriol.

The problem, however, is the extended definition.

I don’t mind gays, and I have lots of friends who are gay. Sometimes we even talk about sex. They’re just people. Of course I don’t think that they should be hated, but I don’t think they should be celebrated either. They started a dangerous thing, too, because now everyone wants to be celebrated for their sexuality.

And this is what set me off: Question About Lena Dunham’s Nudity Sparks ‘Rage Spiral’

Basically, some guy asked Lena Dunham why she was naked so much on the show Girls.

Lena said: “If you are not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals”

the Executive Producter, Jenni Konner said: “I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy,” she said pointing to the question-asker. “I was just looking at him looking at him and going into this rage [over] this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea it just makes me sort of sick.”

Judd Apatow called the guy: sexist, offensive, and misogynistic, saying that there is a double standard against less than attractive women who wish to be nude onscreen, and that no one had a problem when Seth Rogan was naked in Knocked Up.

 

Well… actually. Yes, I’d rather look at attractive naked people. But when I’m watching TV, I don’t really need to see any naked people, attractive or not. If I wanted to look at naked people, there are other things I could watch. Seth Rogan wasn’t naked that much, so that’s probably why it wasn’t as much of an issue, but did I want to see it? Of course not. What is the point of putting unattractive naked people on TV? I don’t even really like looking at unattractive clothed people, to be honest, that’s why I watch Australian soaps, not British. Anyway, it’s a valid question, but their response tells us that we’re wrong to question why someone’s unwarranted unsexy sexuality is being shoved in our faces. I get it, it’s her show.

My problem is, people get so caught up on being offended, they lose sight of the real issues. Like, really Jenni, you were getting sick because someone said that Lena shows her body too much? Really? That’s the knee-jerk, slut-shaming activist reaction–that there’s no limit to sexual expression, and anyone who even hints at it might make you physically ill.

Slut shaming isn’t okay, by any means, but this broadened definition isn’t helping. When you group in people being taken aback when you shove your sexuality at them with the real culprits, it makes it seem like there is no real problem. People aren’t going to broaden their minds in one go, and when you take into account that the Duke Porn Star is getting death threats, being told to put on some clothes seems like a reasonable reaction.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that there is a difference, and when you group it all together you water it down. Yes, people should be able to do what they want, but you can expect some detractors. What isn’t okay is the hate. Rape, violence, threats. Those are not okay. You can assume that people are going to disagree with what you are doing. But if someone asking Lena why she doesn’t wear clothing more often makes you sick, you have it pretty good, and also can better understand the way that the viewers feel seeing Lena naked. Sorry Lena.

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Commentary

this guy’s 15 minutes are over, Richmond

John Lewis Morgan, you are a thorn in my side.
Usually I like it when people speak their mind, I certainly enjoy doing it, but there’s a difference here–no one cares what I’m saying. Richmond is a pretty small market, and JLM seems to have made his mark. He’s actually a marginally respected journalist, and I find this appalling. RVA Mag, a more legitimate publication, calls him a “friend,” and Style Weekly even did a write up on him, lauding his success. Spewing vitriol and a singular world view, I am at a loss to find anything to like about One Way Richmond.

Presumably, OWR gets it name from the closed mindedness of its author. From the tone taken by Mr. Morgan, seemingly, anyone who isn’t paying their dues, desperately trying to be hip, belongs in the suburbs with HIV. He’s like, “hey guys, there’s only One Way here–my way or the highway! And also there’s a new Sheriff in town.” It’s about being into the music scene in RVA, having your hair cut like Oasis, and living within the city limits.

JLM

Who wore it better?

He’s got a major chip on his shoulder, and that chip is middle class and white. He decries tribute bands, Chesterfield, Henrico, Boulevard, families, Bud Light, and illiteracy. You see, those things are all associated. Sure it’s easy to hate those things, but to engender so much hatred to so many people? It suggests that you don’t know any of those people. You’re a wannabe hipster, preaching to the contrived and pretentious elite of Lamplighter. Not to mention the fact that you’re fighting a battle that you don’t want to win, because if you win, you lose. When the suburbanites come into your city trying to enrich themselves with a little culture, you bitch. If everyone thought the One Way that you want them to, you wouldn’t have anything to bitch about. And bitching is your lifeforce.

Hipsters are the people who pretend to love all blue collar things, but actually hate blue collar people. While being interviewed by Style, about his investigation into Richmond, JLM said, “Buried under a bunch of mainstream crap, which every city has now, lay an unbelievable cultured class that does things the DIY (do-it-yourself) or blue collar way – basically the right way.” You see, it’s okay to do Blue Collar things, as long as you’re well educated, don’t need to do Blue Collar things as your occupation, and like all of the same things that he does. However, if you’re a mechanic who drinks Bud Light, likes to go to The National to see The Machine, never got help for your dyslexia, and lives in Chesterfield, stay out of my city (not really)! The absolute impudence of praising the cultured class who do things the One Way that JLM thinks is right is shocking. I get it, Mr. Morgan has a major broner for Lance at Minimum Wage Recording.

I’m gonna tell you the truth. I like to DIY stuff. I like craft beer. and I see no reason to go see a tribute band. When I lived in Richmond, I got majorly annoyed at people from outta town coming in and taking my precious parking. People who attempt to conform to any particular social niche are laughable at best, and pretty terrible at their worst. I’m being honest though–I don’t want those people to change to be like me. I don’t need other people getting all interesting and trying to compete with me. I need to have my shit that I do that makes me feel like I’m a tiny bit better than other people. That’s why hipsters have gotten so weird and beardy lately… the mainstream culture is catching up with them, faster than over. I mean, shit, man. I was talking to a friend from Norway. Fucking Norway, and he said that they have the same guy there that was a his hair combed back, long on top, short on the sides. He wears sturdy denim jeans, rolled up, maybe a snazzy pair of socks, a button down shirt, and some big boots.  Oh yeah and a beard.

This is a thing.

Yeah, it’s a thing. And it’s a mainstream thing. I was in The Well the week before it closed, and I swear, the bartender called me “random girl,” because I didn’t have a beard. Btw, fuck you bartender, I’m Asian and also a girl, I’m not growing a beard in this life.

So, in conclusion, Mr. Morgan, I know you want the Token Bearded Guy to like you because you both hate the same things.

It’s not happening though. You care too much, and Lance is actually a really nice guy.

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Commentary, travel

date me! I’m not A Girl Who Travels

I wouldn’t tell you to date a girl who doesn’t travel and you definitely should steer clear of A Girl Who Travels, so where does that leave you? With tons of options, actually.

You see, there are lots of girls who travel who do not ascribe to the formula of A Girl Who Travels. In fact, any legit adventurous girl will resent the fact that some asshole is trying her put her into a box. I certainly don’t enjoy being labelled. Bitch, you don’t know me. What you’re actually describing, sweetheart, is yourself, and you’re kind of a doucher. Don’t worry, I’m not just going to point fingers and call names, I’m going to explain why she’s a doucher.

As a girl who also enjoys travelling, I related to a few bits of the article, but then I was like, get me out of here! I don’t want to be associated with this drivel.

My credentials: I was a flight attendant for over 4 years and traveled additionally in my time off. I’m currently living abroad. So, not as full on as A Girl Who Travels, thankfully.

I enjoy going to the movies. Just because I’m more well traveled and interesting than you, that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

I’m polite enough that you won’t realize that I don’t want to hear you brag about your skydiving experience. Plus I’ve never been, so I might truly be interested.

You can complain about your boring job, to a point. Of course we should talk about other stuff too, but I wouldn’t have any friends if they felt they couldn’t share their mundane experiences with me.

I hate the expression that one “dances to the beat of her own drum”. What a trite phrase.

If the most important thing in life isn’t surfing, then what is??

I don’t need a guy to help me pitch a tent, etc. but I’ve learned the value of having a little extra brawn. Besides teamwork, guys are great at being delegated to.

It’s great meeting new people and, especially when you’re traveling, it’s actually more interesting if they aren’t like minded. If you’re just going around Asia to talk to other smug Western people who think they’ve stumbled upon life’s greatest secrets, you’re not really taking in the culture. You could meet people like that through your pot dealer back home.

When you’re in a new place, it’s great to have a constant–someone you love, by your side. It also makes you less vulnerable to organ traffickers.

Don’t date a stereotype.

Also, for the record, I’m married.

RELATED:
Girl Power-Cut

 

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Commentary, Uncategorized

I don’t like sarcasm.

I don’t, and I tell people that, and they think I’m being sarcastic. It’s my own personal hell.

I’m not earnest either, and I’m certainly not sincere. The problem with sarcasm though, is that its users are so self-aware.

And not just self-aware, but self-aggrandizing, smug, and giving themselves a firm pat on the back.

I’m truly not sure what is worse… the actual sarcasm or the fact that people are proud of themselves for being sarcastic.

I prefer irony, which people often confuse for sarcasm, which is why when I say I don’t like sarcasm, people give me a nod, like “I get it you’re being sarcastic!” *wink*

I used to be really sarcastic, but I was an angsty teenager, so it was to be expected. For what John Haiman calls, “the crudest and least interesting form of irony,” sarcasm has a lot of nerve being so mean spirited.

Those who consider themselves sarcastic often laud themselves for what is really an underdeveloped sense of humor. According to Oscar Wilde, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

I guess that still makes it a form of wit, if you really want to get points for it, but it’s not that clever, and it isn’t nice. Sarcasm is pretty obvious, and if you’re still using it in 2014 you’re going to look like a chump.

Consider this: what you consider sarcasm may actually not be. Sarcasm is clear cut–cutting remarks stating the opposite of what you mean, with generally malicious intent.

Try Irony. Better yet, be a troll.

People often complain that when their sarcasm falls on deaf (or dumb) ears, the listener just thinks they’re stupid. If you’re trolling, your goal is to make people think you’re stupid. or just weird. It allows the user to be much more creative, and there is no victim. Importantly, it isn’t clear cut. With irony, you’re saying something that you don’t mean, but not necessarily the opposite of what you mean. There should be a lot of gray area when it comes to irony. Even you shouldn’t know whether you meant what you said or not, and you should never ever ever admit that you were being ironic. That being said, a truly special bond forms, when another person can detect your ironies.

Irony has allowed me to be a lot more open to things. I don’t have to dislike things that are popular simply because they’re popular, but I don’t have to love them either. I don’t need to be critical, because I can just like things ironically.  I relish the feeling of enjoying the simple delight of the Spin Doctors’ Two Princes, a truly magnificent song, that so many others are too cool to like. I can appreciate it for what it is: a time piece, an anthem, a huge ball of energy rolled into a song. Nothing is off limits–whether I like something ironically or otherwise, I like what I like. I can appreciate and enjoy the cultural contribution and significance of Miley Cyrus. And I think that’s what it really comes down to–a recognition of the impact that these things have on society. It took me a long time to enjoy things that I couldn’t expressly relate to. But that would have been a whole lot of culture that I would have had to completely write off. I felt that to like something, I needed to identify with it, and I was afraid to identify with anything.  Now I can even listen to country music.  Shedding sarcasm, I think, went hand in hand with ridding myself of that adolescent self-consciousness.

I enjoy the Madea movies in part because I find it funny that other people find them funny. And sometimes they’re just funny. And they’re full of life lessons.

There is one caveat though:  I don’t think there’s any way to ironically like Two and a Half Men.

It’s difficult, deep in the spectrum of irony to not fall into the hipster trap, but just remember this rule: Don’t be a dick. That should cover it.

RELATED:
Think Sarcasm is Funny? Think Again.
You Can Kick the Sarcastic Habit
How to Live Without Irony

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